Shocking revelations emerged at the Senate, yesterday, that almost all various federal revenue-generating agencies have short-changed the Federal Government to the tune of N1.7 trillion, through under-remittance of revenues generated between 2012 and 2016. It was also discovered that the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC), ran at a deficit of N3.1 trillion during the period under review.
The N1,695,585,887, 406 reportedly lost by the federal government during the stated period was from N21.5 trillion generated by 93 agencies covered in the Senate investigation.
These facts are contained in the report of an Ad-hoc Committee on Alleged Mis-use, Under-Remittance, and other Fraudulent Activities in Collection, Accounting, Remittance and Expenditure of Internally Generated Revenue by Revenue Generating Agencies, set up by Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in November 2016. In the 32 – page report laid before the Senate, last week, a copy of which was sighted by newsmen, yesterday, 25, out of the 93 revenue-generating agencies covered, were alleged to have defrauded the federal government of N1.7 trillion.
Specifically, the report stated that during the period under review, the Nigerian Customs Service, which generated N335.855 billion, failed to remit N83.963 billion as 25 per cent of the amount generated, in accordance with the provisions of the Fiscal Responsibility Act, 2007. Similarly, the the committee discovered that the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) generated N455.5 billion but had under-remittance of N33.83 billion.
Also included is the Nigerian Ports Authority which recorded under-remittance of N86.636 billion into the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF), despite generating N789.104 billion.
Others are the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), N13.716 under-remittance, out of N3.098 trillion generated, NIMASA, with N184.489 billion under-remittance, out of N301.160 billion generated, Nigerian Television Authority, N5.567 billion under-remittance out of N56.817 billion generated, among others.
For NNPC, the committee report stated that while the nation’s cash cow during the period under review generated N15.541 trillion, its entire expenditure during the period was N18.657 trillion, exceeding the corporation’s revenue profile by N3.115 trillion.
The committee also observed that revenue-generating agencies chose to comply with a directive, via a memo dated November 11, 2011, with Ref. No. BO/RVE/12235/259/VII/201 by former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala to remit only 25 per cent from the revenue generated and use the remaining 75 per cent as part of its expenditure which is a clear violation of section 1200 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, and also a violation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act and the Establishment Acts of some of these institutions.
The report showed that most of the revenue-generating agencies denied the Auditor General of the Federation access to their financial books and records, which, in itself, is in conflict with section 125, subsection (3) a (i and ii) of the constitution. Consequently, the committee recommended as follows: “That the Senate should amend the laws, where necessary, to make it mandatory for all revenue-generating agencies to accommodate resident auditors, to be posted by the Auditor General of the Federation, who will have access to all financial records and books, and ensure compliance with section 120 (i) of the constitution.
“That the Fiscal Responsibility Act should be amended in a way to compel all agencies and institutions of government on compliance with financial regulations regarding income generation, accounting and remittances.
“That the Senate should also amend the laws, where necessary, to make it mandatory for all revenue-generating agencies to accommodate resident Treasury Officers, to be posted by the Accountant General of The Federation, who will have access to all financial records and books.
“That the National Assembly should direct the immediate stoppage of the implementation of the contents of Okonjo-Iweala’s memo and that agencies and institutions should adopt the new mode of remittances, as approved by the Senate.
“That the Fiscal ResponsibiliTy AcT (2007) should further be amended to make all revenue-generating Agencies to pay 30 percent of their income generated monthly to the Consolidated Revenue Account before any expenditure, etc.”